What to do before becoming an expat

After you’ve gotten over the initial excitement following the decision to move abroad, there are a lot of practical considerations to take into account. Unfortunately, there’s more to becoming an expat than just choosing a country and jumping on a plane. Forms need to be filled out, logistics need to be arranged and plans need to be made. If you’re worried about missing something important and are wondering what to do before becoming an expat, here are the basic steps to take before moving abroad.


Getting your visa affairs in order can be a hassle but it is imperative to get them sorted in good time. If you’re moving abroad for work, make sure to speak with your new employer first about any support they might offer – many organisations will completely take care of this for you.
Rules regarding visas vary greatly from country to country. The USA, for example, is notoriously difficult to obtain a visa for, requiring an interview to be conducted along with extensive information and documentation to be provided. Make sure you know the visa application process and take all the requisite steps in good time to avoid any potential problems.


Like visas, be sure to make your accommodation arrangements in good time. Whether you’re planning to buy property abroad or rent, be sure to allow adequate time to find suitable accommodation beforehand.
Popular expat destinations like Hong Kong have high population densities, making it difficult to find suitable property at short notice. Desirable apartments are snapped up quickly, so be sure to allow enough time to find somewhere suitable.

Health Insurance

Like visas, the rules regarding health insurance vary from country to country. Make sure to check foreign travel advice as part of your arrangements to ensure you’re up to date with the country’s specific health requirements. It may be necessary to receive certain vaccinations before travelling to certain destinations so be sure to check whether this is applicable.
Many countries provide free state healthcare but, even if this is the case, consider taking out an international health insurance policy. As Cadogan Tate reported in a recent article, the majority of today’s expats are planning another expat posting after their current one ends. If you’re likely to move to another country in the next few years, or if you travel a lot, taking out an international health insurance policy is likely to be worthwhile.


Having taken care of the essentials, you’re almost ready to start your new life as an expat. The prospect of moving your worldly possessions to start a new life in another country may seem daunting and concerns about their safety – especially if you are moving specialist or valuable items such as artwork or fine wine – can be cause for unease. With so much to take care of when starting a new life abroad, make sure you choose a reliable and trusted removals service – it’s one less thing to worry about.
If you are considering moving abroad from London and joining the expat community, Cadogan Tate are here to assist you every step of the way. From your initial enquiry to unpacking at your new home, we are here to help and advise you. Find out more about our specialist international removals services from London.
Information correct at time of publication.